Sometime next month, our baby cat, Oz will turn one year old. This is a very special occasion for anyone, but it is especially true of little Oz. We don’t really know what day that will be. Oz was outside alone, wandering by himself at about three months old, when he was picked up and taken to the humane society. He was a lost boy whose origins and family were unknown, a stray as we say. How frightened he must have been, not to mention hungry and uncomfortable. So many strays don’t make it until their first birthday. He was fed and taken care of at the shelter, the best they could, but poor little Oz contracted every shelter illness imaginable from the other inhabitants. His eyes swelled shut with mucus. He couldn’t breathe through his nose. His ears were full of dirt and infection. Fleas feasted on his little body at will and intestinal parasites ravished his food. It is only luck that none of these were fatal diseases. He was neutered, immunized and bathed repeatedly as the humans tried to make him fit for adoption. Not yet more than two pounds.
He lives with us now. Although he could barely see when we brought him home, his gratitude overwhelmed me as he explored the toys we gave him and the soft warm bed that was his. He seemed to live as if the world suddenly became filled with gold. He couldn’t play hard enough or eat enough or purr enough. He never whined or complained in any way. Our vet was horrified when she first saw him, but with a lot of love, attention and her guidance, Oz slowly regained his health. He suffers from many psychological wounds. He is very frightened of humans and although we can love on him sometimes and he responds with gargantuan purrs, at other times he flees from us in terror, from what we cannot imagine. He also doesn’t know how to do two things that Siamese are famous for. He doesn’t know he can jump and he doesn’t know how to meow. By the time our Thai was six months old he was jumping to the top of the bathroom door – much to my horror. Oz still just climbs like a kitten or elderly cat. He spent so much time in an isolation cage at the shelter, there was nowhere to jump. Although most Siamese are persistent talkers, Oz only makes little squeaking noises when he plays with his sister, Melody. The rest of the time he is eerily silent.
We chose the Spring Equinox, March 20, for Oz’s birthday. As we begin to see the signs of the renewal of the Earth, we will also celebrate a new birth for Oz. He’s healthy now and much loved. He has the chance to grow into the magnificent animal he was meant to be. As I think on what he’s been through – that I know of – it causes me to reflect on humanity’s intolerance of any disruption in our lives. How angry we get if the cable goes out or the lines are long at the grocery. How we complain and bicker and make each other miserable over the little things in life. Imagine for a second what Oz has endured. He did it all without any way of knowing why. He’s a survivor, not quite one year old. He’s my hero.
Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”